You know how as soon as it’s May 1, you start getting the itch to wear shorts out of the house (even when it’s still 50 degrees), and switch from hot to iced coffee (even if you’re cold) just because it feels so summery? What about when you start making plans with your friends on all the things you want to do this summer and pencil in your planner all the goals you’re going to accomplish? But by the time September rolls around, it can feel like the summer just flew by — faster than that sailboat you promised you’d go on with your friends.
Well, this year really is going to be your year — the year you take full advantage of your summer. We’ve rounded up all of our favorite summer activities for our 2019 bucket list to make sure you’re getting the best of the best of what the season has to offer. By the time September rolls around, you’ll be thinking “that was the best summer ever.”
Support your local Farmer’s Market
Even if going to the Farmer’s Market does not sound like your ideal summer activity, challenge yourself to spend a day exploring the booths and perusing the aisles of your local market. Find the freshest ingredients and make a meal using only what you picked up that day. If you love the Farmer’s Market as much as the pool come summertime, ditch your grocery store for the season and stock up on produce each week at the market. Either way, commit to spending the summer supporting local businesses and eating organic, fresh produce instead of sticking to your usual supermarket.
Rent a convertible for the afternoon
Because while a sunny drive with music turned up and the windows rolled down is pretty great, a sunny drive with the music turned up in a convertible is even better. And surprisingly, it’s actually affordable! (The experience, that is, not the car.) Grab your crew and rent a convertible for a day from affordable car-sharing sites like Turo, Getaround, or RentalCars. Head to the beach, a drive-in theater, or just through your favorite street in town for a summer experience that feels as luxurious and fun and is it easy.
Try a bright lipstick shade
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good natural look as much as the next girl, but it’s summer! This season is the perfect time to not take yourself so seriously — experiment with your beauty and style instead of opting for the same neutral formulas and black fashion pieces. Whether it’s a bold pink lip, a blue eyeshadow, a change of hairstyle, or a neon sundress, make it your mission to experiment, and (wait for it) HAVE FUN!
Make s’mores (the grown-up way!)
What feels more like summer than a bonfire under the stars and some good ol’ fashioned s’mores? The answer: absolutely nothing. Take your bonfire from sleep-away camp to grown-up with gourmet versions of your favorite summer treat, like adding crushed blackberries and white chocolate or almond butter and banana. It’ll be all the same fun (and gooeyness) as the s’mores you knew as a child, but with a little sophisticated twist (aka a metaphor for your life, right?).
Perfect a boozy lemonade
So maybe this isn’t the kind of lemonade you sold at your stand when you were a kid, but it’s certainly the kind of lemonade you’re going to want to have over and over again this summer. Forget your typical vodka soda or pinot noir and experiment with the refreshing flavors of the season like an adult take on your childhood favorite, or adding produce like watermelon, berries, and mint to your go-to cocktails. Vodka soda, who!?
Have a picnic while watching an outdoor movie
Got a date night coming up? Forego your typical dinner and a movie and pack up a meal, a blanket, and a bottle of wine and head to your local park for an outdoor movie instead (if your town doesn’t have movies in the park, a charged up laptop and downloaded movie does the trick). If GNOs are more your thing, grab your friends, have everyone bring a dish (pot luck style) and meet up for a meal and a movie outdoors. Bonus tip: make the food themed, like cheese and wine pairings or Mexican food (queso and margs, anyone?).
Take a road trip you’ve never been on before
Picture this: you and your best friend, a wide open road, the convertible top down, and iconic sunglasses — all Thelma & Louise style. OK so maybe the convertible is a stretch, and the sunglasses are too specific, but you get the idea. Why bother booking expensive plane tickets when you can make the travel a part of the vacation? Pick one of these famous road trips or drive to a nearby town or tourist destination you’ve never gotten around to seeing.
Read at least 3 non-fiction books you wouldn’t normally choose
Need a good beach read or looking to put together your comprehensive summer reading list? Instead of the usual romance novels or psychological thrillers, pick up a non-fiction book that you know nothing about. Choose an autobiography by someone you don’t normally agree with or a book covering a topic you don’t know much about. Also think about the self-help books available that cover subjects you may need help in (whether it’s about mindfulness, relationships, or is work-related). Spray on your sunscreen, spread out your beach towel, and get ready to learn a lot.
Pretend you’re a kid again at a county fair or amusement park
It’s time to let your hair down — channel your inner “XO” and become a kid again at your local county fair or a nearby amusement park. Dress comfy and colorful, play games to win stuffed animals, scream at the top of your lungs on the rides, and eat whatever cotton-candy, fried, greasy garbage you want — absolutely guilt-free.
DIY your own (healthy) popsicles
When it’s hot outside, does anyone else just crave popsicles? I mean, your first popsicle of the season is a summer rite of passage! Empower yourself with healthier options, using the freshest ingredients for the same satisfying and refreshing taste. Purée your favorite fresh fruit, combine berries with greek yogurt and honey, or make your own green juice popsicle by blending leafy greens, cucumber, ginger, and celery. Add mixtures in popsicle molds (with wooden sticks), and freeze for six hours. (Bonus: if you stuck one of these in a glass of Prosecco, we’d call you genius).
Go to an outdoor concert
Pause your Spotify, take out your headphones, and listen to your music live this season. Whether it’s a three-day music festival or your favorite band on tour (Jonas Brothers, anyone?), buy your tickets ahead of time because an outdoor concert might just be the highlight of your summer.
Grow your own produce
You may not think you have a green thumb, but growing your produce is healthier for you, better for the earth, easier on your wallet, and feels so empowering. If you have a yard and the space, start with basic tomatoes and lettuce (easy-to-grow summer produce), or if you’re in an apartment or just don’t have the space outdoors, grow fresh herbs indoors.
Spend a weekend learning a new skill
Is there something you’ve always wanted to know how to do but just never have gotten around to learning how to do it? Maybe it’s a skill that will advance your career like photoshop, or a hobby you’ve always been interested in like playing the guitar. Spend a weekend perfecting and practicing your skill (or use online classes like Skillshare for things like photography, design, or creative writing). By the time Monday rolls around, you’ll already feel accomplished, proud, and eager to learn more.
Take a detox from technology
You’re #woke enough to know that a tech detox should be a part of your wellness routine year round, but what better time to get serious about your screen time than during summer? Turn your phone on silent and keep it at the bottom of your beach bag for days at the pool, or challenge yourself to a three-day detox on your next road trip or summer vacay (Instagram can wait!). I get that Instagram and Snapchat feel like necessities at this point, but delete any time-wasting apps (like games) for the entire season, unfollow or mute Instagram accounts that don’t make you feel inspired, and turn iMessage notifications off on the days you need to be more present. Get outdoors, live in the moment, and keep off Candy Crush already!
Make a summer playlist
What songs remind you of summer? The songs that when you hear them it brings you back to spring break in college or childhood days at the beach? Is it classic Island in the Sun that transports you to a tropical vacation even when you’re sitting in traffic, or are you more of a California Girls type of girl? Make a playlist of all your favorite summer songs to listen to while you soak up the sun. If you’d rather check out one of our playlists, here’s what we listen to sunbathing by the pool.
Host a barbecue
If you don’t host a lot of parties, now’s the time to break out of your comfort zone and become the hostess with the mostest. Whether your vibe is more low-key hamburgers and denim cut-offs or high-end, high-key (if you will) with vodka lavender lemonades and all-white attire (à la Gossip Girl), summer is the perfect time to put your hosting skills to good use with a summer soirée. The season calls for a carefree vibe, and buying a stack of burgers or preparing side dishes can be especially affordable (especially if you do BYOB). If you don’t have a backyard or a grill, your local park should have grills you can rent or use for free. Worst case scenario, forget the grill and make a taco bar. Just don’t forget the string lights and rosé!
Plan to save $1,000 by the end of the summer
While summer is all about fun and games, it’s also about getting your life together and achieving your goals. Budgeting yourself to put away $1,000 in a few months is actually easier in the summer — try walking instead of taking Uber (it’s so nice out!), making your own iced coffee instead of picking up Starbucks, pausing your gym membership for outdoor workouts, or heading to the park with a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket instead of going to happy hour. Remember: little things add up, and summer is full of free activities like heading to the beach or going on a hike.
Participate in a themed 5k
Alright, alright, hear me out — if you’re like me, running on the treadmill for 10 minutes is intimidating enough, much less running anything that ends in “k.” To all you marathon runners out there, I highly commend you for your amazing endurance and physical agility; however, marathons are not my idea of fun. But from one non-runner to you other non-runners, it’s time for us to get out of our comfort zones — in a fun way. There are hundreds of themed runs in your city that you might not even know about, and that (despite the name) you can actually walk. Check here for themed runs near you, like a color run, a glow run, or even a beer run (yes, it’s real!).
Summer-clean your home
Sure, you’ve heard of spring cleaning, but now it’s time to summer-clean your home. DIY your own cleaner (for a natural, healthier alternative), clean off your patio/balcony/window sills (or any outdoor part of your home), and go through your pantry to clean out any unhealthy or processed foods (since summer is all about fresh ingredients!). Add fresh flowers and house plants; trade darker accents with more colorful pillows, throws, and home accessories; and switch out your bedding for lighter or linen sheets. Don’t forget to fill your home with a signature scent — try diffusing a mixture of lemon and eucalyptus essential oils for a summer smell that’s as intoxicating as it is refreshing (or purchase a home diffuser with citrus or exotic notes).
Take your fitness routine outdoors
Remember how this is the season for trying new things? It goes for your fitness routine, too. If you’re stuck in a rut because you do the same yoga class everyday, or you spend your entire fitness routine lifting weights in the gym, add in some time outside — bring your mat and your sun salutations to the park, or go for a walk during your lunch break. Also try something you’ve never done before — go for a run, try an outdoor class, or ask a friend to join your workout. Switching up your routine will keep you from plateauing, and the extra sunlight ensures you’ll have more energy to push yourself harder than other times of year.
Cut one plastic consumption from your life
Whether it’s swapping plastic straws for stainless steel straws, trading in paper towels for reusable wipes, or using a cotton bag to carry your produce instead of grocery bags, make an effort to make at least one reusable swap you can stick to all summer long. To live even more sustainably this summer, bring reusable cups or mason jars to Starbucks to fill up your iced coffee, air dry small loads of laundry instead of machine drying, carry around a refillable water with you everywhere, and walk or bike instead of driving. Whatever way you want to challenge yourself to live more sustainably, stick to it through the entire summer, and feel empowered knowing how a little goes a long way.
Host a grown-up slumber party with your girls
Take a little trip down memory lane with me: school is out, summer break is here, and you have a good few weeks before camp starts to do nothing but go to the pool every day – most importantly, you get to have slumber parties with your friends every day of the week (that is, if your mom said yes, of course). While you definitely have way more responsibilities (and likely don’t have a summer break at all — major bummer), bring back the fun of slumber parties with your best friends this summer. Watch a movie outdoors, order lots of pizza, put on some face masks, and drink lots of wine (see, grown-up slumber parties can be more fun!).
Volunteer your time to a charity
If you want to get outside more (and don’t we all during summertime?), why not get outside while you’re doing a good deed? Commit to volunteering for a charity you’re passionate about after work or on weekends — take shelter dogs for a walk, attend beach clean-ups, or help out at your local nature center or forest preserve. Because nothing feels better than doing a good deed, except maybe doing a good deed on a warm, sunny day.